How else will one
describe a country where a tiny rag-tag group of terrorists have
bamboozled her commander-in-chief into celebrating independence under
the rocks? Or one where he shamelessly implements the instructions of
his bubbleheads at the World Bank? What happened to starring tyranny
of terrorism in the face? Mobilizing public opinion against terror?
Oh my, our President was running scared! And he is running scared in
the face of economic terrorism now being proposed by his World Bank
controlled economic team.
I totally understand why
our David and Ungoliath President will be afraid of celebrating. Who
won’t be? If the home of your masters at the United Nations were
attacked, albeit you live in the same city, you too will have a lot
to fear. Jos in the past four years has been a bedlam of crisis week
in, week out. No one seems to have lost their job; no serious
reorganization seems to have to taken place: just same old
platitudes. Nigerians are supposed to hope, because they are used to
Yes, it is that famous
hope of a Nigeria that drew them to vote in a poll for a candidate
that was clearly incompetent and over his head; a puppet that does
the wishes of his masters in distant land. A man clearly impressed by
everything foreign, or that speaks with a twang. The days of yore are
here; the chicken seems finally to have come home to roost.
So you voted for
Jonathan? How about those one hundred and fifty naira per liter at
the pump come January next year! I dey laugh. Was that part of his
manifesto? Why do Nigerians keep voting for “hope” instead of
“change”? It was clear to any discerning mind that this man
called Jonathan offered nothing but same old platitudes of the old
guard in his moribund party now adorned with the garment of a newbie.
Instead, like goats being herded to the slaughter, they voted with
excuses: or as some say, with prejudiced reservation and now are
reaping sorrows and tears.
The lopsided white
elephant projects have not stopped. Just
another 30 billion naira on a national ID card scheme when the first
300 billion naira allocated was wasted. The refineries are still
not working, yet the talk of deregulating the sector is what gets our
man’s attention. We have become a nation of importers of energy,
when the raw resources are produced in our land. What happened to
common sense, where did this President learn Economics 101?
This talk of deregulation
is nonsense in so far as the President’s aides keep missing the
larger point. That the cause of the corruption in the subsidy scheme
they’re purportedly scrapping is not the subsidy itself, but the
very essence that an importation cabal has held the nation hostage.
It is this cabal that has determined to ensure they skim off the top
of the nation woes, while ensuring that a better system to replace
what we have now never emerges.
Just like PHCN and our
electric grid is in the grip of the generator mafia, the petroleum
import leeches have essential declared war on our capability to
refine locally, and they were the sponsors of the President at the
Take for instance, in
the fiscal year 2011 the total budget for petroleum subsidy was
240 billion naira, roughly $1.70 billion. To date, 931 billion naira
have already been spent! Yes, you read that right: Nigeria have
expended $6 billion on the economic hit that have been let loose on
our nation. They live in sleek palaces across the country, smiling to
the banks while the rest of us exist in absolute penury. These are
the President’s men, and now they want us not the government to
line their pockets.
Nigeria is a low-income
earning country that happens to be blessed with oil. Our citizens
should not be paying the same price as an American. For one, they
cannot afford it. This obsession by the PDP government with
deregulation will destroy our local economy and companies already
groaning under the weight of fueling vehicles and generators, it will
be the last straw to break their back when the government should
rather be stimulating the economy. America, China and Europe are
stimulating theirs, why should we be killing ours? This policy will
destroy employment, threaten our social fabric, lead to spiraling
inflation and could very well lead to a revolution. The President is
playing with fire.
I cannot believe the
President is simply clueless (or maybe I can); clearly this man
cannot be possibly impotent in the face of the cabal (or maybe he
is). The solution to the corruption in the subsidy system cannot
possibly be transferring the burden of paying that subsidy to the
pockets of long suffering Nigerians from the coffers of their
ever-leaking non-existent government! Pray tell, how many new
refineries can be build with the subsidy the government of Goodluck
Jonathan have paid to his sponsors in 2011 only?
Here are few policy
steps, just in case his advisors are reading that can take Nigeria
from almost 6 billion dollars paid to charlatans to total
self-sufficiency in three years, by the end of his term:
existing four refineries as separate companies. This will basically
involve cleaning shop on management level (hire HR firms to do
this), while taking them public (offering 49% control at the IPO,
devoting the raised capital to capital expansion to increase
practice of selling crude oil to the refineries at below
international market rate i.e. indirect subsidy, which allows the
refinery turn profit; while putting a lid on the domestic pump price
through a regulated system of tariffs similar to electricity.
refine products demand to the four operators: allowing them to
organize importers to meet this demand beyond what they produce,
while disbursing subsidy directly to them to meet the regulated pump
At the same time,
the new regulatory regime should not allow these operators to import
directly or through any subsidiary or joint venture, rather they’re
to source their imports from the open market, paying market price
for such while bridging this with government paid subsidy.
This system essentially
means that as a commercial operator, they’re giving up certain
margins to the middlemen importers in so far they don’t produce
domestically; encouraging them to eliminate these middlemen quickly.
Also, the fewer players feeding at the government trough of subsidies
will also mean less corruption. As public companies responsible to
shareholders, these companies will only act in self interest to
continue to expand production to meet local demand and eliminate the
At the same time,
government incentives for new refinery builders including tax
holidays, a capital expansion fund that provide up to 51% equity
funding or loan guarantees to these builders at the Central Bank will
be a more efficient way to spend $6billion than giving it to the
President’s buddies. Of course one of these incentives might be a
bite at the juicy oil blocs that the majors always want: no refinery
no, crude oil concession, no deal. It is called negotiation.
Stop being a coward Mr.
President. Where is the Petroleum Industry Bill when we need it